Tag Archives: kale

Why Food Works: A Dinner Party

This past Sunday I was very excited to participate in a fun dinner party, which focused on nutrition!  A Back on My Feet runner, friend, and blogger, Ericka of The Sweet Life, invited me to join other fellow bloggers for a delicious evening.  I was excited to learn a little bit more about the food that was chosen for this meal, as well as to meet new friends.

Why Food Works- group pic

From the left: Anne, me, Ericka, Sarah, Sarah, Amy

A DC Registered Dietician, Sarah, recently started up a small business- Why Food Works.  She hosts dinner parties at customer’s homes, prepares them a delicious dinner, and teaches them about nutrition.  To promote her new business, Sarah reached out to us and provided us with a free dinner, in exchange for writing about it on our blogs.

Why Food Works- Sarah

How it works:
 Where: Dinner parties are available around the DC area 
        (within a 15 mile radius from city center)
 Who: minimum of 4 guests, maximum of 8
 Price: $60 per person (the host receives 50% off); 
        $8 per person for wine pairing
 How: all food, kitchen gadgets, utensils, plates and 
        glasses included- you won't have to clean up!

Shortly after we all arrived, Sarah was ready with the appetizer and our first glass of wine.

Why Food Works 1

First, she showed us how to prepare a healthier version of a ranch or sour cream dip.  A more nutritious alternative is a Greek yogurt dip, with onion powder, garlic powder and chives.  Check out Sarah’s recipe for the Guilt Free Ranch Dip, and be sure to include this when you serve veggies next time!

Why Food Works 2

We snacked and enjoyed white wine while Sarah cooked- a perfect way to meet new friends!  Sarah and Anne are both RD’s, so we picked their brains about nutrition (what’s a healthy breakfast, steaming vs. roasting, nutritious snacks, etc), and it was great to have Sarah there to answer any questions about how to prepare the meal.  Yes, even food bloggers can learn new tricks!

Next up was the entree, which consisted of three parts: salmon cakes, risotto and roasted broccoli.

Why Food Works 3

The Savory Salmon Cakes were made using canned salmon- an affordable meal, and with greens it had an excellent flavor.

Why Food Works 4

It was topped with a goat cheese sauce that was phenomenal (goat cheese, milk, pepper mixed together)!  Sidenote: Sarah also makes her own beautiful pottery!

Why Food Works 5

I did learn something new- you can make risotto using steel cut oats!  A great way to add more fiber to your dinner.  This version included mushrooms, kale, garlic, onion and almonds.

Why Food Works 6

Lastly, the Roasted Lemon-Garlic Broccoli was delicious, and I can’t wait to add that hint of lemon next time we make ours.

Why Food Works 7

The evening ended with a No-Bake Coconut “Cheesecake”.  With a raw approach, the crust was made out of almonds and dates.  Meanwhile, the filling included Greek yogurt, coconut water, gelatin and coconut.  Sarah prepped it before she started cooking the main meal, so it set and was ready to eat after dinner.

Why Food Works 8

I still can’t decide what was my favorite part of the meal- I might have to recreate it and double-check!  This would be a perfect meal to make when we have friends over for supper club!

For anyone in the DC area, I highly recommend Sarah’s Why Food Works dinner parties.  The meal was delicious, easy to recreate what you’ve learned, and healthy.  I enjoyed learning more about why certain foods were better than others!

I thought this would be a great way to spend an evening with friends, a perfect alternative to cooking or ordering food!  Sarah has seasonal menus, or can alter various dishes to particular diets- and she’ll help you maximize nutrition by pairing foods.  If anyone is interested, I’d love to do this again!

Follow Sarah on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter!

Thank you to Ericka for organizing this fun evening, and Amy for hosting it!  It was great to meet new friends!

Egg & Swiss Chard Tacos

There are some days I just don’t feel like cooking.  Yes, I think everyone has this problem- even food bloggers.  But we would like to continue to eat healthy, and not always call for take-out, or grab dinner at the restaurant around the corner.  So for those kinds of days, I look for recipes that are simple, yet still delicious.

Egg Taco 2

This Egg & Swiss Chard Taco is inspiring and easy- perfect for a lazy Sunday dinner, something quick on a hurried Thursday night, or a perfect breakfast dish Saturday morning.  Love the versatility!  If you’re not a fan of Swiss Chard, swap it out for spinach, kale, or any winter greens which might be available in your area- it will still be tasty!

Egg Taco 1

Egg & Swiss Chard Tacos
Adapted from: Food & Wine (January 2013)
Serving: 6 tacos

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, finely chopped (seeded or optional)
1 large Swiss chard bunch, finely chopped
5 eggs
1 tbsp half and half
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tbsp butter
6 corn tortillas

Additional taco toppings:
sour cream
salsa verde
cheddar cheese/Mexican cheese

In a large skillet heat olive oil, then add the onion.  Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the onion is starting to brown.  Then add in the garlic and jalapeño pepper, cook for another 3 minutes.  Finally, add in the Swiss chard and cook, stirring, until it softens- about 5 minutes.  Put the ingredients to the side.

In a cup whisk together eggs, half and half, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the butter, let it melt and pour in the egg mixture.  Let the eggs cook for about a minute, until the bottom starts to set.  Using a rubber spatula, gently push one side of the egg into the center of the pan, repeat with all edges.  Once there is no liquid left, turn off the heat from the scrambled eggs.

Next, dress your corn tortillas.  Spoon out sour cream, add the Swiss chard mixture, scrambled eggs, then top with salsa verde, cheddar cheese, cilantro and tomatoes on top.

Green Veggie Rice with Fried Egg

As I’ve mentioned previously, I try to use up all of our produce- rather than throwing it all out!  Sometimes I might not get to a recipe I wanted to try, or I get a little crazy at the Penn Quarter Farmers Market and buy too many greens.  Or as I browse through other blogs, magazines or cookbooks I get inspirations about trying new things.  Where do you get your cooking inspiration or recipe ideas?

How did this recipe make itself?
1) I was walking through Whole Foods, and I came across Lundberg Black Japonica rice.  It’s a whole-grain blend of short-grain black rice and medium-grain mahogany rice which originates from Japanese seeds.  It looked so pretty, I just had to buy it!

2) I’m not the hugest fan of kale, until I tried this recipe.  Although I’ve added it to many dishes (kale lasagna, kale white bean & potato soup, pomegranate and kale orzo salad), I haven’t been sold on it.  Until I saw baby kale in the grocery store, and I decided to give it another chance.  Although I didn’t have a recipe for it, I wanted to incorporate kale into something.

3) Fried eggs make everything better.  Trust me!  (burgers, pizza, BLTs, asparagus, soups, noodles, salads- have I sold you yet?)

4) I wanted to clean out our fridge, and I hate taking everything out and putting it back in.  I prefer if the fridge is very very empty- makes the chore so much easier!

As a side note: This weekend I’ll be attending my first food blogger conference- Eat, Write Retreat 2012.  I’m very excited to meet other fellow food bloggers and learn some new things!  And I can’t wait to check out what’s in my swag bag!

Green Veggie Rice with Fried Egg
Fifth Floor Kitchen original

If you don’t have this specific rice, you can substitute with brown or wild rice- both will taste equally delicious.  As noted above, feel free to experiment with other greens if you don’t have kale or swiss chard on hand (ex: spinach, arugula, beet greens, mustard greens, bok choy, etc).

1 cup Lundberg Black Japonica Rice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch of swiss chard, roughly chopped
1 bunch of baby kale, roughly chopped
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
juice of 1 lemon

In a medium saucepan, cook rice in water per package instructions.  Drain and keep covered.

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil.  Add the onion and cook until translucent.  Then add the garlic, cook for another 3 minutes.  Next add the swiss chard and baby kale.  Cover and cook, stir a few times, until the veggies are tender.  Add the rice into the saucepan, mix all of the ingredients together.  Season with soy sauce, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, and lemon juice.  Allow to simmer while you fry the egg.

In a small pan, fry an egg per each serving.  We prefer runny eggs, but fry it to your preference.

Plate the rice and veggie mixture, top with a fried egg.

Detox: Pomegranate and Kale Orzo Salad

During this period between Thanksgiving and Christmas a lot of our lives revolve around food.  First, there is the giant Thanksgiving dinner- and we’re all very full.  And in the last couple of weeks a number of our friends have had birthdays- which means more food!  (Don’t worry friends- I will gladly try new restaurants with you!)  And I know many people reach for a salad to give their stomach a break.

I think this salad is a great alternative!  It’s got a light pasta- orzo, a fruit- pomegranate, vegetables- kale, pearl onions, and a great dressing.  And the hardest thing to do (for me) was peeling out the pomegranate seeds.  Don’t worry- in most stores you can buy the peeled seeds.

We took this salad to work almost all week for lunch, and it had the perfect level of lightness, but filling enough that our stomachs weren’t growing an hour after.  It was a great little detox salad from all of the big dinners!

I’m truly a fan of pomegranate.  The texture is fantastic- soft at first, but firm when you bit into it.  Plus it’s not overly sweet.  Around the holidays I like to add it to a lot of salads or dishes, since it does add a festive feel to it with the beautiful red color.

Adding the kale to the salad gave it that earthy taste.  If you’re not a fan of kale, I think spinach or arugula would be a great substitution.   That small change can actually make the dish even lighter, and have a spring or summer feel to it.  Very versatile.  I’d love to hear of any additions or substitutions any you might have!

Pomegranate and Kale Orzo Salad
Adapted from: Happyolks
Servings: 6-8 lunch salads

1 pinch & 1 tsp of salt
2 cups of pearl onions
1 tsp & 1/4 cup of olive oil
2 1/2 cups of orzo
2 pomegranates
1-2 bunches of kale, chopped
juice of 1 orange
1 tbsp honey

In a large pot, add water and cook it.  Once the water is boiling, add a pinch of salt.  Then add the pearl onions.  Cook them for about 10 minutes.  Once they are cooked through, use a strainer to take all of the pearl onions out of the pot.  Leave the water in the pot.  Set the cooked pearl onions aside in a bowl.

In the pot with the boiling water, add the orzo.  Add 1 tsp of olive oil and cook the orzo for about 8-10 minutes, or until the orzo is cooked through.  When the orzo is ready, drain and rinse with cold water.  Add to it to a large bowl.

While the pearl onions and orzo are cooking, break open the pomegranates.  I tend to cut the fruit into 4 pieces, and then begin to take out the seeds. Meanwhile, pick out and throw out the white fibrous bits.  Add all of the seeds to the bowl with the orzo.

Once the pearl onions are cooled, trim off one end (just a tiny piece).  Squeeze out the rest of the onion from its skins.  Once I removed the skins I roughly chopped the onions (but feel free to keep them whole).  Toss them into the large bowl with the other ingredients.

Then, toss in the chopped kale into the bowl.  Mix all of the ingredients well.

In a separate bowl whisk together: 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1 tsp salt, juice of an orange and honey.  Once it’s all mixed together, pour over the salad.  Toss the pasta salad once more to mix all of the ingredients thoroughly.

Kale Lasagna

Sometimes during the weekends we like to make a dish that will last us several days.  When I saw a recipe for kale lasagna (without ricotta) I added it to our list.

As I’ve mentioned before, ricotta and I do not have a wonderful relationship.  Therefore, I try to find ways to substitute it.  Last time we made lasagna, we used tofu as the substitute- check it out here!  This time the substitute was cottage cheese.  I feel like I should have thought of that long ago, yet I didn’t.

Now, if you’re not a fan of kale- feel free to use spinach or any other greens.  Personally, I do not like meat in my lasagna.  I feel like it’s an already heavy dish- and by adding meat, it’ll give me a stronger food-coma.  Since all recipes can have some tweaking- this one is the same.  If you’re a meat lasagna fan, definitely add a layer of it somewhere in there.

This is the pre-bake picture.  I loved the contrast between the green kale, red tomatoes and white cottage cheese.  Yum!

Kale Lasagna
Adapted from: Kalyn’s Kitchen

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
10 oz crimini mushrooms, chopped
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
28oz chopped tomatoes
6 cups of kale, roughly chopped
2 cups of cottage cheese
3 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, shredded
box of lasagna noodles
2 cups of mozzarella cheese, grated

In a large pan, heat up olive oil.  Add onions and saute for about 3 minutes, or until they are soft.  Then add garlic, mushrooms, basil, oregano and red pepper flakes.  Saute all of the ingredients for about 5 minutes.  Finally, add the tomatoes.  Simmer the sauce for about 5 minutes.  Once the sauce has cooled, pour into a food processor.  Puree the sauce, depending on how smooth or chunky you would like your sauce to be.

The next step is to blanch kale.  Take a large pot and boil water.  Add the chopped kale into the boiling water for about 3 minutes.  Have a bowl of cold water ready, and once the kale is cooked add it to the cold water.  Keep the kale in the cold water for about 3 minutes, and then drain the kale.

In a separate bowl, mix together cottage cheese, beaten eggs and grated Parmesan.  Finally, add the drained kale.  Mix all of the ingredients.

Spray a 9×12 inch baking dish with nonstick spray.  Lay lasagna noodles at the bottom of the pan.  Pour a layer of the sauce onto the lasagna noodles.  Then put down a layer of the cottage cheese-kale mixture.  Finally, sprinkle 1/2 of a cup of mozzarella cheese.  Continue putting the layers until you have used up all of the ingredients.  The top layer will be lasagna noodles covered with a layer of mozzarella cheese.

Preheat the over to 375°F.  Cover the dish with aluminum foil, and bake for 60 minutes.  Then, take off the aluminum foil and bake for another 20 minutes.  Let the lasagna cool for about 5-10 minutes before cutting it and serving.